I’d heard a lot about this book, but the title didn’t draw me in, so I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love it. It’s compelling historical fiction with a great story about persevering despite economic, physical and emotional hardships.
Description from Amazon:
Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.
So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?
The War That Saved My Life was written by Kimberly Brubaker and published by Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Group) in 2015.
Right from the beginning of this story, I wanted to stick up for Ada and I wanted so much for things to get better for her. I really liked her determination, and the way she loved and looked out for her brother. It was interesting to learn more about some things I didn’t know much about before, such as club foot, the separation of families during the war, and Dunkirk. Reading the details through Ada’s eyes made me think much more deeply about the war and related events. I didn’t want to put this book down until I finished the whole story (and then I wished there was more!)
From a writer’s perspective, I thought the opening chapter was very effective at setting the stage for the novel and providing information the reader needs to know. It was interesting that Ada had a realization about herself so early in the novel.
“Ada! Get back from that window!” Mam’s voice, shouting.
“I had never needed taking care of, but I decided not to say so.”
“Onions were so scarce they might as well have been solid gold.”
“A pall of dust and smoke choked the sunlight, but the street sparkled as though covered with stars. Glass. All shattered glass.”
The War That Saved My Life won a Newbery Honor Medal in 2016. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley has written several other historical novels.